Understanding How The Government Audits Federal Contractors

Have A Clear Understanding Of The Government’s Accounting Requirements

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) states that contractors must comply with the following to work with the government:

  • Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
  • Cost Accounting Standards
  • FAR agency supplements

Understanding Audits

Your company should be clear on what the DCAA considers the responsibilities of federal contract actors. They include the following:

  • timeliness of payments to subcontractors
  • documentation of contractor oversight of subcontractors
  • documentation of enforcement of flow downs
  • documentation of support for subcontractor billings
  • documentation of subcontractor reviews

Surprise Audits

Government audits can occur without any type of advance notice. Therefore, contractors must always be prepared to receive a solid evaluation. 

A surprise audit that reports non-compliance with federal accounting regulations can have negative consequences, including contract termination, and payments can be withheld unless improvements are in place. In addition, this can be very time-consuming and stressful.

Keeping Ahead of Technological Innovations

Keeping pace with stringent government accounting policies allows a company to truly understand governmental purposes, needs, and more extensive processes and then use that knowledge to manage and methodically grow the company.  Luckily today, many cutting-edge technologies can take the pressure off by making even the most complex accounting procedures quite simple. These innovations help a contractor comply with government requirements, permitting employment of systems for management and growth while adapting to keep in step with ever-incoming changes in conditions. Also, having a solid accounting system will only improve your company in the long run.

Rules Of Timekeeping And Accounting

Government contractors have to maintain rigorous schedules when compared to the private sector. Therefore, your business must comply with a set standard of rules and regulations when reporting on how many hours worked in a certain period.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) states that contractors must comply with the following to work with the government:

  • Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)
  • Cost Accounting Standards
  • FAR agency supplements

Simplified Procedures

In 1994 the Federal Acquisition Act FASA simplified the buying procedures of the government.

Many of the more harsh restrictions on government purchases were removed for any purchase less than $100,000. Now agencies use much simpler procedures for analyzing and soliciting bids up to $100,000. However, the government must still advertise all purchases over $25,000 at www.fbo.gov.

These simplified procedures mean that approval levels are lower, there is much less documentation, and administrative details are not as complex. The government now has to reserve purchases that are between $2,500 and $100,000 for small businesses. The exception is the contracting officer cannot obtain offers from two or more small businesses that are competitive in price and quality.

Purchases that do not exceed $2,500 individually or through multiple items are considered micro-purchases. These do not require competitive quotes but are not limited to small businesses. Micro-purchases are often made using government-issued purchase cards or typical credit cards.

Contracting Officers

The Federal Government always conducts any kind of procurement business through contracting officers. These contracting officers have the authority to bind the government to a contract unless otherwise stated in writing. Therefore, ensure that the person you are dealing with is the contracting officer authorized to represent the agency or office that will award the contract.


Government procurement has constantly been advancing many national, economic, and social objectives. Accordingly, government contractors must comply with the rules and regulations of labor standard statutes. This will include the Service Contract Act, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and other requirements that further socio-economic objectives, except for specific contracts where such legislation is stated explicitly as non-applicable.


The government usually makes sure contracts are competitive through sealed bidding. First, the agency makes sure that its requirements are accurate and complete. Then an Invitation For Bid or IFB is issued. The IFB will describe the type of product or service the government procures. It also includes:

  • Preparation Instructions 
  • Conditions of Purchase
  • Packaging 
  • Delivery 

The Key To Winning A Government Contract Is To Pay Attention To the Guidelines

You must read closely what the request for proposals or RFPs wants in your bid. Make sure that you are aware of deadlines and who is handling the requests. Usually, small businesses have 6 to 8 weeks to submit an offer, but this can vary, depending on the agency. 

Make Use Of Government-Provided Free Tools.

You can identify contracting opportunities online by utilizing this forecasting tool that lets you see what opportunities are available. You can study the government contracts that are a couple of years old to see what requirements are needed to win the job. This puts you in an excellent position to have all your research completed when the contract is about to expire, and you put in your proposal.

Make Sure You Are Organized

Having solid financial records and a straightforward thought-out process goes a long way to impress government agencies that you can handle the job. In addition, it presents a professional demeanor that is quite impressive.

The System for Awards Management or SAM Directory

To qualify for government contracting jobs, you must first register with the federal government supplier database, which is called the System for Award Management or SAM, for short. 

This allows you to be certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA). This gives you the Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS Number). You will also identify Your North American Industry Classification System. See our informative blogs to find out everything you need to know about SAM for small Businesses and an in-depth look at what is required for lucrative federal contracting opportunities.